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Reflecting on the year

Ellie Yang '27

Mercersburg’s Student Body President Jordan Yuan ‘24 and Vice President Ruby Shang ‘24 sat down to reflect on their experience in leading the student body and their accomplishments across the year.

Mercersburg News: What was your number one goal this year in student council, and did you achieve it?

Jordan Yuan: My number one goal was to not get impeached, and that went well.

Ruby Shang: For me, it’s to collect student voices and to make sure we process them as a student council. However, the student council is not only a wishing well where people can envision us as a “you should do what we want.” A lot of the time, it’s choosing the middle ground, learning the protocols, and knowing the boundaries whilst pushing things that we can and negotiating on things that we can’t. It’s where we put a balance on how to regulate the student body whilst giving them more freedom.

JY: Yeah, we work in between the school and student body and making both parties happy which is hard. But our biggest goal was to effectively communicate between those two parties.

MN: What did you hope to accomplish as president?

JY: My campaign was to make this school a better place. I’ve never thought about myself being in this position before coming here or last year. Being the head of this 400-person community is a great honor for me, to listen to what people need and actually do what people want to do. I used to be the one complaining about all this stuff and now it’s really hard for me to balance everyone’s needs.  I’ve also had personal growth and gained more confidence in myself while making decisions without hesitation. I used to be a hesitant person and now I’m the one making the decisions and being in this position helped me build that kind of character.

MN: What do you believe is the most pressing issue in our community?

JY: As I said at the beginning of the year, I feel like the school spirit and the feeling of community were lacking at the beginning of the year. Everybody was just doing their stuff, and they weren’t together, so we introduced ‘True Blue’ and, well, the dessert thing, too.

RS: We brought back a lot of traditions like the triathalon and the field day, and as Jordan said, we are trying to recover having school spirit and having a sense of what it is like to have Mercersburg as our identity. Although it’s not a “pressing” issue because of the improvements we’ve made this year, I’m glad we focused a lot on restoring the culture and restoring the identity.

MN: What projects have the student body council worked on throughout the year?

RS: We’ve had different focuses, one of them being culture. Projects focused on culture include True Blue, starting a culture committee, bringing back the peer group culture session, holding the triathlon, having a blood drive coming soon, holding random acts of kindness week, and having a lot more spirit week. We’re also going to do a state of the school update soon.

JY: And for the focus of student life, the main thing was dorm visitations for upperclassmen, especially seniors. We also tried to play with the behavior feedback system. We had meaningful discussions in the council and we also wanted to focus more on engaging with our community, for example, our elementary school and James Buchanan (JB), where we had a breakfast meeting with them.

RS: We’ve done a lot, but there are some things that we can’t solve, like the vending machine, and so many problems that are turned down by the school system and how it works and functions. But we did try a lot this year.

MN: What is your proudest accomplishment?

RS: For me, it was bringing back the sleepover policy of dorm visitation because a lot of students wanted to do that last year, but considering the long process, it wasn’t pushed through last year. This year, we did a better job at communicating with Mr. McDowell, planning with the student council, working on how the system will look like, who will have the privilege and what protocols there will be. Everything worked out really well, and we’re really proud of it.

JY: I agree with Ruby. I think our proudest accomplishment is the sleepover policy and I mean people love it. I’m also proud of the Mercersburg culture building. The class of 2024 was the last class that went through COVID and had some legacy before COVID. We were able to bring some of the culture, experiences, and Mercersburg moments from pre-COVID back.

MN: What does Student Council mean to you?

RS: It means a welcoming connection between the faculty, the administration, and the student body. Not everyone has the opportunity to enjoy this and learn how this school functions, and I think it’s a privilege for both of us to be in this position and have the channel and power to hear what the students say and stand on the podium to hold school meetings and quizlets. 

JY: We are the student body’s ear and mouth, listening to what they need and what the school wants from them. We’re delivering and communicating the message to the student body or to the school administration to reach a common ground that satisfies both parties.

MN: What was it like working with each other?

RS: It was definitely a very interesting and amazing experience. Jordan is such a fun guy, and brings so much fun to the working process. We share the same sense of humor, we never fight, and we sometimes think alike. I’m especially impressed with his speech skills. My favorite speech throughout the last four years is Jordan’s speech about how the whole school is like a pizza. I’m going to remember that forever, and I don’t think anyone has ever compared Mercersburg to pizza. I almost cried. Jordan treats his role very seriously, and although people doubt his serious side, a lot of the time, he helps people brainstorm. He never treats me as lower than him; he gives me equal respect and room to talk. That’s something I really appreciate. 10/10 recommendation to anyone working with Jordan in the future. He’s a great colleague, and I love him.

JY: It is honestly my great honor working with Ruby this entire year, and I’m beyond happy to do what the people need with this amazing person. She has a sense of humor that exceeds my wildest dreams and she has the most outrageous ideas that we can both agree on doing and that’s one of the great qualities of working with someone that has the same ideals as you. She’s just very easy to talk to like everyone in this school knows Ruby, she’s just a people person. She’s very good at backing me up and we help each other out. We’re very good compliments of each other and sometimes I do very irrational things and she will be the one to hold me back and tell me to think before I move. Although being the vice president might be considered lower than the president, we’re working together side by side, shoulder by shoulder, and there’s no such thing as “Ruby’s my vice president”; we’re at the same level, and we try helping each other out.


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